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Nobody's financial status is ever completely secure, and even emergency funds run dry unexpectedly sometimes for us all, so please no shaming or blanket assumptions about the supposed immorality of not being able to afford vet care.

There is a stickied thread about Care Credit in this forum, which is a financing plan. I also really liked some of the Humane Society's suggestions, which I haven't seen mentioned here yet.

For example, if you have wheels or a good and pet-friendly local public transportation system, you might well be able to find more affordable vet care in a nearby community. (VERY much the case where I live, US Midwest/Great Lakes region). If you are having trouble finding one on your own, trying asking your neighbors, pet store employees, or volunteers at the local shelter for a vet recommendation.

Another option is to contact a breed rescue group, many of whom are committed to helping dogs stay with their original owners if possible. They often have suggestions for discount-rate but NOT discount-quality vet care, and/or connections with organizations to help people continue to care for their pets during tough financial or medical (human or canine) circumstances.

Some organizations are specifically geared to help seniors on fixed incomes or with limited mobility care for their pets, whether it is help with vet bills or stopping by to take a dog for a long walk. So that is something else to consider, should that be your situation.

I think it's pretty clear that many of us depend on our dogs just as much as they depend on us, if in a different way, and I just wanted to promote some ideas for making sure we all get to continue!
 

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I don't know how great of a solution this may be but one option is to get the Banfield Wellness Plan. The Banfield vets are located within a great deal of Petsmart stores. You pay fee per month per pet but that includes vet visits, any medicine they need to take, emergency visits, flea medicine and it takes a great percentage off surgeries as well. You can also choose different plans . Just thought I would throw that one out there.
 

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Well, I have to say I thought it was a really good idea to start this thread, so I will offer a couple of ideas.

One thing you can do, is once you have established what you are going to use for regular heartworm prevention medication and flea-tick preventative you can often get these supplies a bit cheaper on-line. Of course you still need to go to your vet at least once a year for a the 4dx snap test to check for heartworm and the tick diseases.

And if you are willing to do a bit of calculating you can save additional money. For example, I buy Frontline plus for the largest sized dog. Then I take a syringe and measure out the appropriate dose of this for each of my dogs indivitually. I find I can get both dogs covered with just the one dose divided accordingly. I like this system for more than just the money savings but also because the smooth nozzle of the syringe (no needle) is nicer to apply the Frontline on my dogs than the sharper plastic of the foil packet.
 

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Tess we did that with the comfortis pills...we bought for a 40 lb dog (ours is 20). We didn't do this on our own...my nephew works as a vet tech when he's home from college and he told the receptionist how big my dog was and they gave me the next size up and told him to get me to split the pills.

I don't know how much the biannual heartworm shot is but I think it's cheaper than the monthly preventative. I know some people don't like it but I really like not worrying about forgetting heartworm pills!
 

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Another tip would be do your homework. Simple example, our vet wanted to charge us $40 dollars for 6 mths of Iverhart. I checked with 1800petmeds, and drfosterandsmith.com and they had it for 19.99!!!! I called the vet, asked them to price match (my mom's vet does)..they said no, then I asked them to send over the RX to drfosterandsmith. IF they were to decline, I'd find another vet. I didn't mind having to order it and saved $20 dollars.
 

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RE: I bought ASPCA pet insurance but I know VPI is just as good if not better!
It is about 35.00 a month and it has saved us thousands of dollars for our liver failure ER with Addison. I don't know about Banfield...but I was kind of appalled at the doggy day care scene I came across at PetSmart and the ignorance of the dog watchers...to the point where I made a complaint that almost involved the ASPCA. It is a chain and profit is the major motive, just like a lot of current nursing home chains...I would be very careful with "franchises" as turn over can be high with the staff.

What a great thread!
 

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Another tip would be do your homework. Simple example, our vet wanted to charge us $40 dollars for 6 mths of Iverhart. I checked with 1800petmeds, and drfosterandsmith.com and they had it for 19.99!!!! I called the vet, asked them to price match (my mom's vet does)..they said no, then I asked them to send over the RX to drfosterandsmith. IF they were to decline, I'd find another vet. I didn't mind having to order it and saved $20 dollars.
I got a similar deal of inverhart plus on 1800 petmeds, like $50 for a years worth. My vet gave me a very hard time and offered me their amazing deal of $90 for the same brand and amount. I declined and I picked up the paper Rx,the receptionist and gave me an ear full and sent me home with several pamphlets about horror over buying from online pharmacies.
 
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For regular shots and check ups there are low income vet areas that will give your pets their shots at a low cost. My sister does this for her cats. The vet office will do it once a month, offer the shots for $10 per animal. Might be able to look into that as well in your local areas
 

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I have pet insurance too from Pet First. The deal is $15 a month, with a $50 deductible but it only works with injuries or health issues so I cant use it for regular check ups. Its great and I have saved a ton since Maggie tends to have a lot of tummy issues and she got bit by another dog once. I also have CareCredit. I pay the initial bill with the Carecredit card, then I submit the insurance paper work and pay off the carecredit bill with the insurance money plus $50 for the deductible. The only things I have found that my Pet First plan does not cover are 1) the rabies booster maggie had to get when she got the dog bite since it them counted for 3 years and 2) dog probiotic powder to help build her stomach bacteria back up from her tummy issues at the beginning of the summer.

I am a college student so I have found this system of CareCredit and pet insurance to be very help with bills and worries. My biggest issue was about any emergency incidents. I was always nervous that some freak accident would happen and I wouldn't be able to pay the vet bills. Also I have found preventative things to be helpful (so far) things like teeth brushing and ear cleaning. Maggie's a hound dog and the vet always comments on her clean ears. Also keeping a good body weight is good for joint health, but I am sure most people know that.
 

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i suggest doing your homework when you choose a vet. i am extremely lucky with who i use for my guys! he has no problem with me getting meds cheaper and such, and he always breaks treatments down with costs vs effectiveness... he's even helped me to find cheaper ways of treating my guys, where appropriate. the other dr's in his office have similar attitudes toward it. this tells me, that he is more concerned with my pet's health than his pocketbook, and though he costs a bit more (slt is expensive) that it would be for me to drive into carson city (30 min or so) i feel i can trust him to help me make the best decisions for my pet's care, which ultimately saves money in the long run.

also, the office provides on-call vet care for emergencies, which means i don't have to rush my guys to the e-vet (that's in carson city too) to see a strange vet who doesn't know their history, and though they charge an emergency fee (it's an extra $50) i imagine it is much less expensive to go that route!
 

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Stay informed of what is available in your area. If that means reading newspapers, visiting your vet offices or talking with other pet owners. Our animal shelter just aquired new ownership (Thank you God) and they are in the process of really making positive things happen. They applied for and were approved for a grant to cover the cost of spay and neutering for unaltered already owned pets. Residents just have to apply and get approved. Our local vets have even lowered the rate for residents who are approved pay close to zero out of pocket.
Both vets also offer 'shot clinics' where they spend a Sat. giving reduced costs vacinations and wellness checks. They stagger their clinics so each one is 6 months apart.
Great thread!
 

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For us cheaper vet care means moving to another city. All the vets here are priced the same... Too high. We drove Fearghas an hour and a half to my mums vet for his neuter and saved $250. For regular vet care, with the price of gas being what it is, we just find a local vet, and pay the higher cost.
My next visit in, I'm going to see if I can skip te office visit for another ear infection and just get the meds there. I can't pay $200 a month for the visit and meds if we are going to keep up with the ear thing.
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Anyone who lives in the Boston area: there is a free vet clinic run by the MSPCA. It is really, really wonderful. It's called the Merwin Memorial Free Clinic for Animals. I've gone there a couple of times for minor things with Honey, but I have seen others who go to have all of their veterinary care done there. I also get my heartworm and flea & tick meds from them because they sell them at low cost. They will arrange low cost spay/neuter and other surgeries/procedures at Angell Animal Medical Center, and really work with you to help you get the care you need for your pets.

I really can't say enough good things about this place and I really wish all cities had a resource like this. It is totally no frills and can be inconvenient, but I know they have saved me at least a few hundred dollars this year, and if my financial situation changed, I'd be there for everything.

Pros:
No office visit fee
Extremely reasonable prices for medicines
Qualified vets (volunteers)
Very kind vet assistants (volunteers)

Cons:
No appointments - it's first come/first served
Sort of odd hours, although they do have Saturday hours
Not the fanciest facility because it's donated
Cash only (if you need to get medicine)
 

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My next visit in, I'm going to see if I can skip te office visit for another ear infection and just get the meds there. I can't pay $200 a month for the visit and meds if we are going to keep up with the ear thing.
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Your vet should be fine with that providing he or she has seen your dog within the last year. If it's been longer than a year, the ON law requires that the vet see your dog. You could also see if the ear stuff comes in a larger bottle. Sometimes the price difference is minimal for a larger amount, especially if a script fee is added.
 

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The best vet bill saver tip I have is have a good vet kit at home. Having horses myself and a accident prone dog, I would go crazy without them. My vet sells me disinfecting and antifungal solutions that just need to be diluted down for use. Corn starch for hot spots, rash cream for rubs, vaseline, thermometers, cotton roll, gauze, neoprene booties, antibiotic cream, pliers and tweezers. For medications, I do keep human benydril, clarintin, reactin, bufferin on hand, for allergic reactions if a bee or hornet sting, or he eats something (he's allergic to grains) and reactin lessnes the reaction. Bufferin helps for muscle and joint soreness, and what our old dog took for arthritis, but you have to be carefully and talk to a vet about doseage.

We have local rescue that gives $35 cat spray/neuter and $75 spay/neuter gift certicates for people that have taken in animals and not able to pay the full price. I think there should be more around.

Don't skip on prevention, treatment always cost more. Get the best you can afford, here fleas are immune to most flea medications.

Sadly though we had a elderly dog that had bad thyriod issues, but she couldn't be on arthritis pills and thyriod pills at the same time. And both cost a lot of money, in the long run didn't improve her overall quaility of life. She was put down two years ago at barely 8 years old.
 

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Well, I have to say I thought it was a really good idea to start this thread, so I will offer a couple of ideas.

One thing you can do, is once you have established what you are going to use for regular heartworm prevention medication and flea-tick preventative you can often get these supplies a bit cheaper on-line. Of course you still need to go to your vet at least once a year for a the 4dx snap test to check for heartworm and the tick diseases.

You can just avoid dogs from mosquito bite. Don't let them playing some place that has stagnant water.The cause of that heartworm is from mosquito bite. If it will happen to your dog you can just have daily oral medications, injections and pills to stop the growth of larvae into worms.
 

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One of my labs had hip dysplasia. I was really young when this happened so let me try to describe it from memory... The X-ray during spring time showed her leg bones not quite being in the sockets in her pelvis, they said the surgery would cost close to $3000 and we couldnt afford it. We took her swimming a lot over the summer, had an X-ray done in fall and it turns out her condition improved. I think her bones moved closer to being in the sockets if that makes any sense. Long story short, swimming has helped hip problems tremendously in my experience.
 

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I live in NYC and in our area, there is a website - luvmypet.com and they do low cost vaccinations, hw testing, fecal testing, hw meds, flea/tick meds, deworming at a very low cost at different pet stores everyday. There is no exam and they dont see sick pets. I use them for preventative care for both my dogs. Keep the receipts as proof of your dogs vaccinations.

Then for sick pet visits, I have pet's best insurance. They have many different plans, they are relatively inexpensive and they pay you back 80% of vet bill minus the deductible (100 or 250, depending on your plan).

I managed an animal clinic for 12 years and I know vet bills can be very very expensive. My mastiff mix has many health issues so his plan has a 100 dollar deductible and my Pomeranian hardly gets sick so he has the 250 deductible, since I reasoned that if he had to go to the vet it must be pretty serious and the bill will be alot.

Hope this helps!
 
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